FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – One person was injured after a crane hit a high-voltage electrical line in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday morning, causing explosions that damaged a number of cars, fire rescue officials say.
The person injured was rushed to Broward Health Medical Center as a trauma alert. He is in serious but stable condition.
He was fortunate that a Fort Lauderdale police officer was patrolling the area at the time and quickly helped him, authorities say.
According to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, three crane operators were working on the top of a roof at 300 Southwest 2nd Street when one of them hit a Florida Power & Light electrical line.
Stephen Gollan, battalion chief for Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, said it caused two explosions, damaging a number of vehicles. Debris and asphalt could be seen littering the street.
“All the asphalt and stuff that was under the crane just blew up and actually shattered my rental car across the street,” one witness said.
The first of a series of explosions rattled the nerves of workers inside the business.
“We heard an extremely loud explosion,” Tina Lucero, of Vegan Fine Foods, said.
“And then it exploded again out of nowhere and people -- the sidewalk, concrete went everywhere, like all the way, 10 yards to here,” Mikeria Russ added.
Practically next door to the Himmarshee area business is where the arm of a crane came into close contact with a high voltage power line.
Florida Power & Light was still on scene investigating the incident Wednesday afternoon.
Power to nearby restaurants and businesses was shut off temporarily as they worked to remove the crane and clean up the area.
“We were actually without power for a while,” Russ said. “We had to lock the doors and send customers away.”
Russ told Local 10 News that the power was out inside Vegan Fine Foods for about an hour.
“Vegan Fine Foods is usually busy in the morning and it kind of hurt us a little bit,” Lucero said. “We weren’t able to serve people and (we’re) still trying to bounce back.”
A spokesperson for the crane company, who did not want to be identified, said the operators were lifting a fan to install at a restaurant.
By lunchtime, the police presence and yellow caution tape were hard to miss for the people walking by.
“Glad I wasn’t walking there when it happened,” said Vanessa Lagios, who works nearby.
Thick pieces of concrete from the ground were torn to pieces and scattered about the streets and sidewalks where tables are usually filled with people just stopping for a bite to eat.
“There’s people mingling all around here during the day,” said Bill Ruggiero, who works nearby.
“It’s usually busy during the day,” Russ said. “People would park along the street and they can’t right now because of the explosion.